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I Like Roy Jones To Knock Out Manny Pacquiao

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PacquiaoMarquezIII Hogan 25Last week, I talked about what I thought could happen if Roy Jones Jr and Floyd Mayweather Jr were ever close enough in weight and time to face off, which came about as a result of Jones' comments in a recent interview. Jones stated that if he and Floyd were the same size, Floyd would be an easy fight for him. While I don't think it would be an easy fight for prime Roy, I do agree that his style would have been well suited to that of Mayweather.

Which brings us to our next topic: prime Roy Jones versus Manny Pacquiao.

In case you've forgotten, Roy claimed that Pacquiao, as opposed to Mayweather, would have given him many problems to contend with – in particular, his southpaw stance and power. Before we go any further, I must stress one important point. By saying that Pacquiao would be a tougher fight for him than Mayweather, I don't think Jones is suggesting that Pacquiao is the better fighter of the two. I believe Roy, whose boxing brain was one of his greatest assets, is aware that more than anything, styles make fights. Roy's twelve rounds of experience with James Toney – a defensive shell based counterpuncher-would give a thinking fighter, like Jones, somewhat of a blueprint to work from in a fight with Floyd Mayweather. On the other hand, Roy Jones never faced a fighter that resembled the stylistic characteristics that Manny Pacquiao would provide.

In some ways, prime Jones and Pacquiao are a lot alike. Pacquiao's greatest attribute, like Jones' was, is his footwork. Lately, many observers have been mesmerised by Manny's handspeed; while clearly upper echelon, is somewhat misinterpreted. At his best, Pacquiao blindsides his opponents by feinting them into covering up, then using his tremendous mobility, he snakes around their guard and unleashes his trademark combinations. As a result of his opponents being discombobulated, Pacquiao's opponents all share the same notion, that because his hands are so fast, that they cannot see where his punches are coming from. The reality is, Pacquiao's feet are so fast, that his opponents don't see where his punches are coming from.

Both prime Jones and Pacquiao utilised a lot of foot movement. Both fighters could be defined as having an “in and out” style of boxing, and yet there are some stark contrasts. Pacquiao likes to bounce in and out of mid-range, using a lot of head movement, before attacking in an ultra aggressive manner. Jones on the other hand preferred to be out of range, backing up, before countering his opponent. Pacquiao, a rhythmic fighter, instigates the attack, whereas prime Jones, a fighter who fought using broken rhythm, instigated his opponents into attacking him.

As a result, I'd have to say that Jones would have the advantage in ring generalship. Pacquiao was forced into following Juan Manuel Marquez in all three of his fights. It's not hard to imagine Jones backing up, luring Manny onto him. In a twelve round fight, this could prove to be problematic of course. Pacquiao's punch output is normally in the higher range, whereas Jones' was often in the lower range. Over the distance, Pacquiao would be the busier fighter. However, unlike Juan Manuel Marquez, who allowed Manny to outwork him, Jones would have some trump cards to play.

During their last bout, Marquez did a good job of neutralising Manny's left hand attack. By stepping to his left, Marquez kept Manny off balance and kept out of the way of the left hand. The main problem Marquez encountered was he was so concerned with Manny's primary weapon – the left hand – that he did not produce enough offense of his own. This is the area in which prime Jones' style would prove better than that of Marquez'. When it came to defending, prime Jones, like Marquez, preferred to step out of range as opposed to blocking. However, Jones' combination of handspeed and power was light years ahead of Marquez. With Pacquiao following Jones, I can envision Pacquiao running into sharp, heavy counters all night long. The two best weapons against a southpaw? A straight right hand and a left hook. Jones' straight right hand was sublime. He would throw it with laser precision and move off before his opponent knew what was happening. I consider the left hook lead of Jones to be one of the best in boxing history. The power and speed he could generate from that shot with such little leverage was astounding. The lighter hitting Marquez was able to land his straight right and left hook often against Pacquiao. A faster-harder hitting Jones would be able to land for keeps.

More bad news for Manny is the fact that prime Jones would be able to match, or even surpass him in the footspeed department. Pacquiao is at his best against fighters who defend by blocking and using upper body movement. Jones was able to leap in and out of range within the blink of an eye. Because of his legs, supreme athleticism and subtle head movement, Jones had an uncanny ability of evading offense. In terms of hitting without being hit, Jones was one of the best I've ever seen. Pacquiao however, can be tagged. Sometimes, Pacquiao's answer to offense is more defense. Against a fast, powerful counterpunching attacker like Jones, Pacquiao could not afford to take clean shots.

Apart from his obvious handspeed, Jones was a master of timing and distance and every bit as good as Carlos Monzon during his prime. Jones had a way of making his opponent overcommit by standing there with his right hand out and taking small backward steps. Thinking Jones was within range, his opponents would attack, only to fall short and be countered. This technique gave Jones' opponents a false sense of distance – a Joe Louis dynamic. In his prime, this was Jones' bread and butter. Take a look at any fight involving Jones from '94 until 2003. You will see Jones stun opponents with his left hook and straight right hand using this very technique. Pacquiao, who often reaches and finds himself off balance, would be open for Jones' signature counters.

Back to Jones' statement.

I would have to disagree with Jones on this one. I think Manny's style equates to a Jones win..and not only a win, a knockout win. I believe Manny's style is tailor-made for Jones. Imagine if Marquez had the footspeed to get back in range after evading Pacquiao's assaults, and possessed the power to hurt Pacquiao after he countered. This is what Pacquiao would be up against facing a prime Roy Jones. Jones would be able to use Pacquiao's aggression against him by luring him onto his sharp, fast counters.

I'm a convinced that if Manny and Floyd ever decide to get in the ring with each other, Floyd will have the toughest night of his career, because of a conflict in styles. [For more on that, check out my Pacquiao could have the blueprint to defeat Mayweather article http://www.tss.ib.tv/news/articles-frontpage/14184-pacquaio-might-have-blueprint-to-beat-mayweather]. Manny's offense is best suited to opponents who utilize upper body movement, like Mayweather, as opposed to lateral movement like Jones. This does not mean however, that I consider Manny a better fighter than Mayweather, only a fighter who would hold a style advantage over his opponent.

During his prime, I would pick Jones over Mayweather – likely a decision win – and Jones over Pacquiao – likely by knockout.

A final word on Jones, Mayweather and Pacquiao.

Because of their popularity, and the fact that most observers regard them as the best today, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao suffer from hyperbole. You will not only find them on top of current pound for pound lists, but in some cases, [and mind bogglingly so] at or near the top of all-time lists as well. The truth is, from a skill perspective, Mayweather and Pacquiao may not even be the best fighters of the last 20 years, let alone all time.

Nevermind Pernell Whitaker and Julio Cesar Chavez, Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson and Ricardo Lopez may have actually been better than both Mayweather and Pacquiao, but because they were competing during the Tyson era, they went relatively unnoticed outside of hardcore fans. Roy Jones, on the other hand, should rank higher because he was simply better than everyone else during his best years.

Don't get me wrong, Mayweather and Pacquiao are clearly upper tier fighters, who possess all-time talent. But I could make the case that we've seen their likes before. Sure, Mayweather's defense is phenomenal, but wasn't Wilfred Benitez' defense just as phenomenal? Yes, Mayweather's technical skills are to die for, but weren't prime Donald Curry's just as impressive? I agree, Manny's footwork and use of angles are exceptional, but i believe Orlando Canizales' footwork and use of angles were even better.

The point is, we had not seen anything like Roy Jones during his prime. He was incomparable, at least to other boxers.

Let's think back to when Roy Jones became the first middleweight champion since Bob Fitzsimmons to hold the heavyweight title. Many thought he was on his way to replacing Sugar Ray Robinson as boxing's greatest.

Now imagine, if someone had told you back then, that one day, Jones would be in danger of becoming UNDER-rated, you would have a hard time believing it, wouldn't you?. Sadly, that's the predicament now facing Jones. This is where boxing differs from other sports. Imagine if Roger Federer never won another game of tennis. He would still probably be considered the greatest of all time. Defeated at the end of the game, he can walk over to the centre line to shake his opponents hand and salute the applauding crowd. Boxing is not as forgiving. We have seen Jones lay unconscious in the centre of the ring. It is this visual that is so unforgiving for Roy. It did not matter that his first defeat did not come until he was 34-years old. The G.O.A.T should never be carried out of the ring, at least not in the mind of most.

We should remember Roy at his best, not his worst. He was boxing's version of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt – he turned wrong into right by using his supernatural athletic gifts. At his best, Jones was so much better than the opposition that he probably only lost a handful of rounds in over ten years of title bouts. There will be those who will point to the Eric Lucas' and the Glenn Kelly's of this world, but in response, I will point to Bernard Hopkins and James Toney, great fighters who were shut out like every other Roy Jones opponent during his prime.

Such was Jones' level of dominance in the late nineties, that he made us think to ourselves: Am I watching the best to ever do it? I've never thought that once when watching Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao.

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A Conversation with Legendary Phoenix Boxing Writer Norm Frauenheim

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It seems all along that Norm Frauenheim was destined to become a boxing writer.

Two critical elements were at play that led the 75-year-old scribe to that profession.

“I was always interested in boxing, even as a kid,” said Frauenheim who spent 31 years with the Arizona Republic beginning in 1977. “I’m an Army brat. I was born in January 1949 on a base, Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, a city I didn’t really see until I hit the NBA road covering the [Phoenix] Suns for more than a decade starting in 1979-80.”

Frauenheim, a longtime correspondent for The Ring magazine who writes for various boxing sites such as boxingscene.com and 15rounds.com, added more background: “One of the many places I lived was Schofield Barracks on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu from 1962 to 1966,” he continued. “I delivered The Stars & Stripes to troops with the 25th Infantry Division, which was headed to Vietnam, along with my dad.

“Anyway, boxing and Schofield have long been linked, mostly because of a novel and film, ‘From Here to Eternity’ (the James Jones novel starring Frank Sinatra on the big screen). The troops were still boxing, outdoors, at the barracks along my newspaper route. I was 13 to 17 years old. I’d stop, watch and get interested. I’ve been interested ever since.”

Frauenheim added: “From there, my father and family shipped to Fort Sheridan, then a base north of Chicago where I spent one year and graduated from high school. Then my dad went back to Vietnam and I went to Vanderbilt University in Nashville (1967 through 1971) and graduated with a major in history. I was also a competitive swimmer, pre-Title IX.

“Competitive swimming is also at the roots of my sportswriting career. I was frustrated that Vanderbilt’s student newspaper didn’t cover us. I offered to do it. The newspaper agreed. I don’t swim as well as I used to. I look at a surfboard and look at the waves I used to take on and wondered what in the hell I was doing. It’s a lot safer to be at ringside.”

After a more than five-decade stint covering boxing, Frauenheim is glad that the manly sport is still around but with more outside competition.

“It’s surely not the [Muhammad] Ali era. It’s not the Golden 80s, either. It’s a fractured business in a world with more and more options for sports fans. MMA is just one example,” he said. “Boxing is not dying. It has been declared dead, ad nauseam. I read the inevitable obits and think of an old line: Boxing has climbed out of more coffins than Count Dracula.

“Still, the sport has been pushed to the fringe of public interest. But it’s been there before. Resiliency is one of its strongest qualities. It’ll be around, always reinventing itself.”

In some respects, boxing, like the other sports, has always been dependent on rivalries like the NBA’s Celtics versus Lakers, which drives the public’s interest and storylines.

“[Larry] Bird-Magic [Johnson] was basketball’s Ali-[Joe] Frazier,” Frauenheim says. “It transformed the league, setting the stage for Michael Jordan. It can happen again, in boxing or any other sport.”

Boxing is still the same but with tweaks here and there.

“When I started, championship bouts were 15 rounds instead of 12,” said Frauenheim who began his journalism career in 1970 at the Tallahassee Democrat and worked at the Jacksonville Journal before being lured in Phoenix. “There were morning weigh-ins instead of the day-before promotional show. There was also a lot more media. A big fight in Vegas meant all of the big media people were there. The last time that happened was Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015, a fight that failed to meet expectations and I think eroded much of the big media’s appetite for more,” continued Frauenheim whose byline has appeared in USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.

Mexican legend Saul Alvarez is still a major draw, but there are others on the horizon who are ready to step in and take over like the undefeated super middleweight David Benavidez.

“The clock is ticking on Canelo’s career, and I think he knows it. At this point, it’s about risk-reward. The 27-year-old Benavidez is too big a risk. Canelo, I think, looks at Benavidez and thinks he’ll beat him. I don’t think he would,” Frauenheim noted. “Benavidez is too big, has a mean streak and possesses a rare extra gear. He gets stronger in the late rounds.

“Even if Canelo wins, there’s a pretty good chance that Benavidez hurts him. There’s still a chance Canelo-Benavidez happens. But I think it’ll take some Saudi [Arabian] money.”

Boxers stand alone in the ring, literally and figuratively, but have a small supporting crew.

This makes them unique compared to baseball, football, basketball and hockey.

“Boxers are different from any other athlete I’ve ever covered. It’s why, I guess, boxing has been called a writer’s sport. There are plenty of NFL and NBA players who have grown up on the so-called mean streets,” Frauenheim said. “But they have teammates. They don’t make that long, lonely walk from the dressing room to the ring.”

Stripped naked, boxers are an open book, according to Frauenheim.

“They can be hard to deal with while training and cutting weight. But after a fight, no athlete in my experience is more forthcoming,” he said. “Win or lose, they just walked through harm’s way in front of people. In my experience, that’s when they want to talk.”

Selecting a career highlight or highlights isn’t easy for Frauenheim, but he tried.

“There are so many. I was there for the great Sugar Ray Leonard victory over Thomas Hearns [1981], a welterweight classic,” he recalled. “A personal favorite was Michael Carbajal’s comeback from two knockdowns for a KO of Humberto Gonzalez in 1993, perhaps the best fight in the history of the lightest weight class. I was also there for the crazy, including Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield’s “Bite Fight” and the “Fan Man” landing in the ring like the 82nd Airborne Division midway through a Riddick Bowe-Holyfield fight behind Vegas’ Caesars Palace.”

Three boxers set the tone and backdrop for Frauenheim’s illustrious tenure as a writer.

“Roberto Duran is the greatest lightweight ever. His lifestyle sometimes got the best of him. That was evident in his infamous ‘No Mas’ welterweight loss to Sugar Ray Leonard in New Orleans,” he said of that November 1980 bout. “He told me that he took the rematch, on short notice, because of the money. “Women-women-women, eating-eating-eating, drinking-drinking-drinking,” he told me in an interview of what he had been doing before Leonard’s people approached him for an immediate rematch of his Montreal victory. But take a look at Duran’s victory in Montreal [June 1980]. Watch it again. On that night, there’s never been a better fighter than Duran.”

Frauenheim added another titan to that short list: “Leonard, who is the last real Sugar,” he said, and ended with the only eight-weight division king. “Manny Pacquiao, an amazing story about a starving kid off impoverished Filipino streets. He was a terrific fighter, blessed with speed, power and instinct. Add to that a shy personality unchanged by all the money and celebrity. He is an example of what can still happen in boxing. He’s the face of the game’s resiliency.”

That’s quite a trio, and they’re the best of the best that Frauenheim’s seen and covered from ringside.

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Aaron McKenna and Kieron Conway Victorious in Osaka

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Aaron McKenna scored a 10th-round stoppage of Jeovanny Estela today (Monday, July 15) in Osaka, Japan. The bout was one of four scheduled 10-rounders in the middleweight division in a revamped Prizefighter Tournament with a $1,000,000 prize at stake for the winner.

One of two fighting brothers from the little town of Smithborough in County Monaghan, Ireland, the undefeated (19-0, 10 KOs) McKenna (pictured) was well ahead on the scorecards when the referee stepped in and halted the match at the 2:02 mark of the final round. He entered the ring a 4/1 favorite over Estela (14-1), a 23-year-old Floridian of Puerto Rican descent who began his pro career at 147.

McKenna’s opponent in the next round (at a date and place to be determined) will be England’s Kieron Conway (21-3-1, 6 KOs) who scored a seventh-round stoppage over China’s obscure Ainiwaer Yilixati (19-2). All three of Conway’s losses were to opponents who were undefeated when he fought them with two of those setbacks occurring on Canelo Alvarez undercards.

Two Japanese fighters – Riku Kunimoto and Kazuto Takesako – were victorious in the other bouts and will meet in the semifinals.

Local fan favorite Kunimoto, recognized as the middleweight champion of Japan, advanced to 12-1 (6 KOs) with a fifth-round stoppage of countryman Eiki Kani (8-5-3). This was a rematch. The two fought earlier this year in Nagoya with Kunimoto registering a fifth-round TKO.

Takesako (17-2-1, 15 KOs) registered the lone upset on the card with a hard-earned decision over England’s Mark Dickinson. It was the first pro loss for Dickinson who had only six pro fights under his belt but was a highly decorated amateur. The scores were 98-92, 97-93, and 95-94.

The next fight for Kunimoto will be another rematch. Takesako saddled him with his lone defeat, knocking him out in the first round at Tokyo’s venerable Korakuen Hall in May of 2021.

The tournament, co-sponsored by Matchroom and televised on DAZN, offers an aggregate $100,000 per event for knockouts. McKenna, Conway, and Kunimoto scooped up $25,000 apiece.

Aaron McKenna, his brother Stephen, and their father/trainer Feargal McKenna were the subjects of a story that ran on these pages. Stephen McKenna (14-0, 13 KOs) returns to the ring next month against 14-2 Joe Laws on a BOXXER promotion that will air on Sky Sports in the UK.

Aaron McKenna entered the Prizefighter Tourney as the pre-fight favorite and Matchroom honcho Eddie Hearn has indicated that he will be in line for a world title shot if he wins his next two matches.

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Results and Recaps from Philly where ‘Boots’ Ennis Stomped Out David Avanesyan

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PHILADELPHIA, PA — On what Matchroom Boxing Promotions called the most important night in Philadelphia boxing in over 40 years, Jaron “Boots” Ennis (32-0, 29 KOs), the current IBF welterweight champion from the city of Brotherly Love, attracted a larger-than-expected crowd of 14,119 to the Wells Fargo Center where he stopped David Avanesyan who was pulled out after five rounds. In Avanesyan (30-5-1, 18 KOs), Ennis looked to impress on two fronts, both commercially and critically.

It didn’t take long for there to be some excitement after Ennis landed a clean jab that caused Avanesyan to stagger momentarily. Ennis turned southpaw and the action stopped after Ennis landed a low blow. Rounds two and three saw both fighters decide to fight on the inside. Ennis was able to land crisp upper cuts while only getting hit with a few shots in exchange. After four rounds, the evidence was clear that Avanesyan was getting hit with clean shots as his face started to get busted up. Avanesyan had a moment when he landed a right hand that got the attention of the crowd and Ennis.

In return, Ennis continued to press forward, this time behind a straight left and combinations. A huge overhand left floored Avanesyan who rose to his feet. Round five ended with Ennis landing some clean power shots that had Avanesyan looking deflated. The ringside physician called an end to the fight after the conclusion of round five.

After the fight, Ennis agreed that he would love the opportunity to fight Terence Crawford if Crawford were to win next month, this despite not having the type of performance that he would have loved to have had after having a year-long lay-off. Eddie Hearn mentioned that he would love to have Ennis return to Philadelphia sometime in October or November if the Crawford fight can’t be made in a possible unification fight.

Other Bouts

After three pedestrian rounds, what sounded like it would be a grudge match between Jahlil Hackett (9-0, 7 KOs) and Pete Dobson (16-2) finally turned into a fight in the fourth. With both fighters finally warming up, Hackett used his jab to continue to work his way inside to land power combinations. Dobson was forced to back up into the ropes and take shots after a large lump formed on his forehead above his left eye.

The action settled down after the sixth round with Hackett taking total control. He continued to work behind an educated jab that stunted any offensive attack that Dobson tried to muster. After all ten rounds, two of the judges saw the fight 97-93, while the third had it 96-94 all in favor of Jahlil Hackett.

Skye Nicolson (11-0, 1 KO), the 2020 Tokyo Olympian and current WBC featherweight champion, utilized her skills in every way to defeat Dayan Vargas (18-2, 12 KOs). All three judges scored the fight 100-90 after Nicolson completed the shutout in dominating fashion through her command of range with a sharp jab and lateral movement. Moving forward unification fights and a possible move up in weight may force Nicolson to face the type of opposition that could make for more entertaining fights in the future.

Light heavyweight action kicked off the main portion of the DAZN telecast. Jersey City native Khalil Coe (9-0-1, 7 KOs) made short work of Kwame Ritter (11-2). After an uneventful first round, Coe started to close the distance to start the second round and as a result he landed a hard straight right that hurt Ritter. A left hook dropped Ritter and he fell backwards into the ropes. When he got up, Coe was able to swarm him with hard shots and the referee called a halt to the action with just one second remaining in the second round.

Former world title challenger Christopher “Pitufu” Diaz (29-4, 19 KOs) made quick work of the game but clearly overmatched Derlyn Hernandez (12-2-1). A short-left hook hurt Hernandez and the seasoned Diaz took his time applying the follow-up pressure that forced the referee to wave off the action at the 2:36 mark of the second round. Diaz stated prior to this comeback fight that he’s looking for one more run towards a world title.

Christian Carto (23-1, 17 KO’s) looked impressive in three rounds of action against Carlos Buitrago (38-14, 22 KOs). Both fighters were happy to exchange from the opening bell. Carto took the punches he was hit with well and was able to return fire with combinations that caught and dropped Buitrago to start round three. A series of well-placed power combinations hurt Buitrago as the round came to an end, which prompted the referee to stop the bout at the end of the round.

A pair of Boots Promotions fighters kicked off the night with entertaining bouts:

It took all six rounds to decide the Ismail Muhammad (5-0, 1 KOs) Frank Brown (3-5-2) fight. Brown pressed the action early and caught the cold Muhammad in an exchange knocking him down for the first time in his career. Muhammad rose to his feet and proceeded to work the gameplan to get himself back into the fight. Muhammad scored his own knockdown in the fourth round and finished the fight strong to earn the unanimous decision victory by scores of 58-54 twice and 57-55.

Dennis Thompson (1-0) won his professional debut at bantamweight with a unanimous decision over the game Fernando Valdez (1-8).

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